We had a rare week of football in Florida with a lot of teams winning. In college, the Gators, Knights, Noles and Owls all won. While in the pros, the Bucs and Jags both had big road wins. Here is how the teams shape up heading into next weekend:
Florida Gators- The Gators once again hold the top spot in our rankings, but that could come to an end next week. The Gators rolled to a 38-0 win over Towson. Kyle Trask tossed two touchdowns and only had two incompletions. Emory Jones also had a touchdown, and Sophomore Dameon Pierce surprisingly led the team in rushing yards.
The Gators will host the number 7 ranked Auburn Tigers next. With this being the homecoming game and ESPN “College Gameday” coming to town, excitement will be in the air in Gainesville. Can Kyle Trask lead the Gators offense to enough points against a stingy Auburn defense? And can the Gators defense stop true freshman Bo Nix and the stout rushing attack?
UCF Knights- The Knights were able to bounce back from their first loss as expected. The offense cruised over Uconn with over 600 yards of offense. QB Dillion Gabriel had three touchdown passes, all of which had Gabriel Davis on the end of them. Davis had those three touchdowns along with two more catches for 119 yards. The Knights will now go on the road Friday night to Cincinnati for one of the tougher games they will play all season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs (photo above) got a huge win on the road in L.A. They put up a franchise-record 55 points, and the offense looks like what it was hyped up to be in the off-season. On defense, Shaq Barrett has been the defensive POY through the first four games. The Bucs will continue their long road trip with a date in New Orleans with first place in the division on the line.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags stayed hot winning their second game in a row. Lenard Fournette finally had his breakout game with a career high 225 rushing yards with a long of 81. QB Gardner Minshew continues to impress commanding the offense to critical scoring drives. Now at 2-2, the Jags are in a 4-way tie for first place in the division early in the year. Now, they face the Carolina Panthers who have been surging with a backup quarterback themselves.
Florida State Seminoles- Are the Noles back? The offense continues to put up numbers and looks like it turned a 180 from last year. The Noles have a bye week before traveling to Clemson. They will have a dilemma on their hands regarding who to play at QB, James Blackman or Alex Hornibrook?
Hornibrook started vs. NC State and had 316 yards and three touchdowns. This came a week after coming in against Louisivvle and throwing for 255 yards and two TDs. If Blackman is ready to play, do they insert him back into the role of starting QB?
Honorable Mention: Florida Atlantic- The Owls just needed to stop playing top 15 teams to start winning. Since loosing to Ohio State and UCF, they are now 3-0. They have scored 40 points in all three of the wins and QB Chris Robinson has 11 touchdowns.
FAU looks like a real threat to challenge for the top spot in the C-USA early in the season. They will face Middle Tennessee before a tough test with Marshall.
Report- Bucs aren’t trading tight end OJ Howard
There’s no doubt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have begun to struggle with three losses in their last four games while on a bye week. However, a report Thursday says they’re not looking to sell off one of their premium young players before the trade deadline.
Despite inquiries from other teams, former first-round pick tight end O.J. Howard apparently will not be on the move.
That’s according to ESPN Buccaneers reporter, Jenna Laine, who went on Tampa Bay radio Thursday and said as much, and then repeated it on social media:
For those who missed this yesterday…I’m told there’s no plan to trade O.J. Howard. Teams who have inquired are being told he’s not available. https://t.co/rYq4mugVPQ
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) October 17, 2019
There have been numerous reports of teams inquiring about the third-year tight end from Alabama whose had a disappointing 2019 so far. Howard, known for his size and agility in the passing game, has only 13 catches for 176 yards and no TDs in the first six Tampa Bay games.
And in the last 2 weeks, Howard had only one catch in New Orleans and just two catches in London in the loss to the Panthers. In both games, he did not catch a pass in the second half.
Now, In fairness, Tampa Bay does have a lot of pass-catching weapons starting with receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and Howard’s fellow tight end Cameron Brate. Brate is one of the personal favorite targets of quarterback Jameis Winston, especially on third down and in the redzone, where he caught a TD last week.
Howard, who was taken 19th overall in the 2017 draft, is in the third year of his deal that is paying him $1.5 million this season. He is slated to make $2 million next year and there is a fifth year option on his rookie deal, as well.
And while that makes him attractive to another team from a salary standpoint, it’s the same for the Bucs, their GM Jason Licht (who drafted Howard) and their long-term plans for the roster and the cap.
Howard has also finished his first two seasons on IR with ankle injuries near the end of them, as well.
The Bucs will come off the bye and play the Titans in Nashville, and a loss would drop them to 2-5 and only fuel speculation more that they might look to trade off a player or two before the end of the month.
Bucs repeated blunders lead to London defeat
Despite traveling over 4000 miles to London, it was a day to forget for the Bucs in their rematch with the Panthers on Sunday. Tampa Bay and QB Jameis Winston had enough misuses for a month of football, including 7 turnovers, as they dropped a 37 – 26 defeat at the hands of Carolina.
Winston was the biggest culprit, as he threw five interceptions (a career high) and also lost a number fumble in what was one of his worst performances of his five year career. And, even though his final stat line showed a 400 yards passing, Winston, with shaky from the very beginning. He threw an interception on the first play of the game to Panthers DB James Bradberry. This while trying to hit WR Mike Evans (catchless last week) over the middle.
Carolina only got a field goal though to make the game 3-0. And, after two Bucs punts on the next two possessions, Carolina marched 99 yards and ended up with in a short Christian Mccaffery one yard TD and a 10 – 0 lead.
One of the few breaks the Bucs got at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium Sunday came when Carolina punt returner Ray Ray McCloud fumbled early in the second and Tampa Bay recovered. A short time later, Ronald Jones got the Buccaneers on the board with a five yard score to close the Carolina lead to 10-7.
Little did the Bucs, Winston and coach Bruce Arians know that it would be the closest they would get the rest of the day.
Later in the second, Winston had his arm hit by the Panthers Bruce Irvin and his pass was picked, again. And, it set up McCaffery’s second TD, a 25 yard catch and run to make it 17-7 Carolina in the half.
Christian McCaffery is the most athletic white man in the world pic.twitter.com/DfYk6bHDUN
— NFL Humor (@NFLHumor) October 13, 2019
Then, after halftime, the Bucs punted on their first possession and then, after a Panthers field goal made it 20-7, Winston once again threw a bad pass over the middle for his third interception of the game. This one to Pro Bowl LB Luke Kuechley, who ran it down to the Bucs 8 yard line. Next, WR Curtis Samuel scored on a handoff and at 27-7, the issue was basically decided.
Yes, the Bucs continued to scrap and Winston actually got them in the endzone twice in the fourth quarter and finished with 400 yards passing, on the number. However, most of that was against softer coverage while Carolina led big in the second half.
Besides the five INTS, Winston also fumbled away another red zone scoring opportunity after he was hit and sacked. Then, a fourth quarter Bobo Wilson muffed punt led to Panthers field goal and the game back to an easy double digit lead. Again, -6 in the turnover margin was as horrific as it gets for Tampa Bay.
The Panthers are now rolling, including second year QB Kyle Allen getting his fourth straight win in relief of the injured Cam Newton. Plus, Carolina got their revenge from a loss a month ago in Charlotte by winning in their first ever trip to the U.K.
However, this day was more about a Bucs offense, and Winston specifically, that both looked so good in a 55-40 win two weeks ago in L.A. doing the exact opposite for most of this Sunday in a bad defeat.
Tampa Bay now stands 2-4 headed to their bye and knows that the turnovers must stop, or the year will get more sour and very quickly.
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